Clear Communication in Email

Explained by Common Craft
It may not seem obvious at first, but using email effectively is an important skill for online life. This video teaches an easy way to communicate clearly in email, and get the results you want, by answering three simple questions.
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Video Transcript:

Love it or hate it, email is a part of online life. That’s why it’s important to understand how to be sure your email gets the results you want.
Think about it this way… When you speak with someone in person, you can tell a lot about them. You can see if they are happy, sad, or in a hurry. This information helps you adjust what you say and how you say it.  For example, if someone looks confused, you might try using different language or examples.

With email it’s difficult to make these adjustments because you can’t see the recipient. And if your message doesn’t account for their needs, it could be ignored.

That’s why it’s important to write emails in a way that’s very clear and helpful for the recipient.
This starts with imagining the recipient being busy or in a hurry. Your job is to make sure your message fits into their busy schedule.

You can do this by answering a few basic questions for them. What is this about? Why am I receiving it?  Is there anything I need to do?

When your email appears, this busy person will quickly need to decide if it’s a priority.
By using a clear and specific subject line that answers the question: what is this about? You can make sure you have their attention. If it’s urgent, or if a response is required, say so.

Next, your recipient will wonder why they are receiving the message. In the beginning, quickly explain the situation. You might write, “I’m writing to update you on the project.” or “I’d like to schedule a call.” Be specific and direct and they will notice.

Lastly, they will wonder if they need to act. Be sure to state your request clearly. This might be a request for a response, a link to a website to review or a number to call. Consider using bold font to be sure your request is noticed.

By considering these three questions, you can communicate clearly, get results and respect the time and attention of those who receive your emails.


What it teaches:

Every day, emails are sent that don’t get results. Part of the reason is that people aren’t receiving the information they need. This video explains the problem and how to fix it by asking three simple questions. It teaches:

  • Why writing effective emails can be difficult
  • What prevents recipients from seeing or responding to email
  • How to get the recipient’s attention
  • How to respect the recipient’s time
  • How to get the results you want from email

Video Info:

  • Duration:  02m 22s
  • Captions Available:  YES
  • Lesson Plan:  YES
  • Category:  Technology
  • ISTE Standard:  Digital Citizen, Indicator 2b
  • ACRL Info Literacy Frame:  Information Creation As a Process

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